NRCM, a major NECEC opponent, is on board with this transmission project. Why do you suppose that is?


PUC to give a boost to renewable projects in northern Maine

Updated 12/7/21

State regulators have begun the process of collecting proposals for a high-voltage transmission line to serve as a conduit for renewable energy projects in Aroostook and Washington counties.

HALLOWELL — Despite criticism of the New England Clean Energy Connect project, state regulators have begun the process of collecting proposals for a high-voltage transmission line to serve as a conduit for renewable energy projects in northern Maine.

A state law required the Maine Public Utilities Commission to begin planning for a transmission capacity of at least 345 kilovolts to connect northern Maine renewable energy projects to the New England power grid.

The project aims to address one of the obstacles to renewable projects in rural Maine – access to the power grid.

It’s a similar to the proposed 145-mile transmission line that would be a conduit for Canadian hydropower to the New England power grid. But it would serve a different purpose as a conduit for Maine-based renewable energy projects.

State voters rebuked the New England Clean Energy Connect in November, and the permit was suspended by the Department of Environmental Protection. Work has halted for the time being.

But supporters are hopeful for a different outcome in northern Maine. Aroostook and parts of Washington County are currently disconnected from the New England grid, requiring electricity to be routed through Canada, said Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, of Allagash.

That has stymied development of wind and biomass projects that could produce lots of electricity.

“This has been the holy grail of clean-energy development in Maine for well over a decade, and this has been the first opportunity to really try and make that a reality,” said Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association.

Continue reading at:

PPH: Maine won’t wait long for answers on clean energy, transmission lines


By The Editorial Board


The resounding victory last month for Question 1 raised questions about just how hard it would be to build the electricity transmission lines necessary to build a clean-energy future.

Maine won’t have to wait long to find out.

State regulators this week put out a call for bids to construct a major transmission line connecting far northern Maine to the New England grid, as mandated by a law passed by the Legislature last year.

The request from the Public Utilities Commission asks for proposals for large-scale wind and solar power projects and the development of a biomass power plant in addition to the construction of the new line.

The electricity from the power-generation part of the project would be enough for hundreds of thousands of homes, and open the way for more. The transmission line would send that power to the grid – where it could be used wherever the grid reaches.

Finally, northern Maine’s potential for producing clean energy could be realized, and an industry could be built around it. Construction of the new power generators would bring jobs, while a biomass plant would stabilize an important aspect of the forest products industry. Maintenance of the plants, and perhaps even manufacturing of items such as wind turbines, would keep the jobs there.

“This has been the holy grail of clean-energy development in Maine for well over a decade, and this has been the first opportunity to really try and make that a reality,” Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association, told MainePublic.

It is an exciting opportunity to bring more renewable energy to the New England grid while creating jobs in an area of the state that needs them.

That’s also close to the same argument made by proponents of New England Clean Energy Connect – and we saw how that went Nov. 2, when a referendum stopping NECEC won with nearly 60 percent of the vote.

There are reasons to believe this transmission line will be seen differently, however. While no specific route has been chosen yet, the geography of northeastern Maine, and the infrastructure already in place, mean that the line is less likely than NECEC to go through sensitive areas.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine, a major NECEC opponent, is on board with this project. And while the communities along the CMP corridor soured on NECEC, the northern Maine line has been under consideration for years and is widely seen as beneficial.

In testimony to the Legislature earlier this year, one Aroostook County commissioner called it an “unparalleled opportunity,” while the president and CEO of Aroostook Partnership, a business and higher education nonprofit, said, “People and businesses in Aroostook County have been hoping for exactly this kind of investment for decades.”....................


Through projects like a transmission line through northern Maine, our state can contribute more to the effort to reduce emissions by helping other states in New England reach their goals, all while creating jobs and tax revenue for our communities.

Who’s going to say no to that?



As one big energy corridor stalls, another moves forward in northern Maine

Maine Public | By Fred Bever
Published December 1, 2021 at 5:03 PM EST

As Central Maine Power's energy corridor continues to confront numerous legal and political challenges, there is movement on another major transmission line proposal.

This week, state regulators called for bids to construct a transmission line that would connect northern Maine to the New England electricity grid and encourage the development of renewable energy sources. Supporters say CMP's recent experience should not be seen as a death knell for other projects that will be needed to meet regional and national green energy goals.

The new northern Maine power line effort was mandated by the Legislature this year, and broadly speaking it's not that different from CMP's New England Clean Energy Connect, which grew out of its bid for an energy contract mandated by Massachusetts lawmakers.

Beset by controversy from the start, the CMP project was hammered at the polls a month ago by voters who approved a referendum that aims to kill it. Then last week the state also suspended its environmental permit.

"But now that that has happened, we need a way to get to our renewable energy goals," says Aroostook County Democrat Troy Jackson, who is president of the Maine Senate, and a chief sponsor of the law that could bring the new project to life.

He says Aroostook and parts of Washington county are disconnected from the New England grid, and electricity to or from the area must be routed through Canada.

That's inhibited the success of local biomass energy plants, he says, and the development of wind energy projects that potentially could produce massive amounts of non-polluting electricity — a product that's in high demand as the region and nation move to "decarbonize" the economy.

"And here is Aroostook County that's dying for economic development and has some of the greatest wind in the entire world, biomass and things like that we can't get the power out of Aroostook County viably, and here's an opportunity to get a line built and get some progress going in northern Maine," Jackson says.

The RFP issued by the Maine Public Utilities Commission on Monday is split into two parts: one calling for proposals for the transmission line itself, and one to procure large slugs of renewable energy from wind or solar projects, and from the development of a biomass generation plant.

The legislation calls for procuring at minimum a percentage of the state's overall electricity load that would amount to somewhere between 700 and 1100 megawatts, observers say — enough to provide electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes (or electric vehicles, for that matter) — with the potential of unlocking even larger amounts of the area's wind energy potential.

"This has been the holy grail of clean-energy development in Maine for well over a decade, and this has been the first opportunity to really try and make that a reality," says Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association.

Payne says the energy producers in his sector have been anxious to get a foothold in northern Maine, and the proposed project could even lead some big wind turbine manufacturers to locate in the County too.

But, he says, bidders would do well to learn from CMP's experience, that it's important to develop close connections early on with individuals and businesses in potential host communities, to gauge their needs, and court — and maintain — their support.

"And that seems to be sort of the rub that occurred with the CMP line, was once they encountered resistance they said 'we're coming anyway, we've got this letter of support from 14 months ago from your town council.' And then individuals in the town said 'we don't care, we're going to flip that vote, we're going to have them undo that letter,  and then we're not just not going to support your project, we're going to actively oppose it,'" Payne says.

Although there is no specific route chosen for an Aroostook transmission line yet, Jackson and other backers say its footprint would be less intrusive than the CMP project in western Maine, requiring less cutting through woodlands and avoiding high-profile recreation areas like the Kennebec River basin and the Appalachian Trail.

Pete Didisheim, the advocacy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine — a leading foe of the CMP corridor project — says a northern Maine line might be more like a big transmission upgrade, called the Maine Power Reliability Project, or MPRP, that was completed about 10 years ago by none other than CMP.

"The connection between Aroostook County and the grid we think can be done in a way that co-locates and doesn't cut across significant forestlands. And I think it's much more likely to be the sort of discussion that occurred around the MPRP. That was 300 miles of transmission line, was built in Maine, with some small issues here and there but it got resolved," he says.

Still, some observers say that losing bidders for generating the electricity that would flow across the northern Maine project might try to undermine it, just as competitors of CMP's partner, Hydro Quebec, did by spending big money to challenge the corridor project in the courts and at the ballot box.

And one new wrinkle that developers and regulators will need to consider: under the law voters passed last month, construction of all "high-impact" transmission lines longer than 50 miles will require approval by a majority of the Legislature. And if they cross public lands, the bar rises to a vote of two-thirds in each chamber.

CMP did not respond to requests for comment.



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Comment by Dan McKay on December 13, 2021 at 6:30pm

Here is your chance to post a comment on the Maine PUC website. NECEC produced over 1380 comments (mostly against the project).

1. Go to the Maine PUC website.

2. Click on "Case Management System"

3. Click on "Public"

4. Click on appropriate words under " To Comment On A Case"

5. Enter 2021-00369 for case number

6. Write a comment and submit

7 You can go to the case by entering the case number in the "Case Management System ' Page and click the column heading "public comment"

Here are a couple scripts from the RFP offered to applicants:


"The Commission’s evaluation will focus on the cost and benefits to Maine ratepayers rather than the overall costs and benefits of the project. All other factors being equal, the Commission will look favorably upon proposals that are designed to reduce costs to Maine ratepayers through some form of tariff treatment, cost recovery mechanism, cost-sharing with other states, or other means that would prevent the full cost of the Transmission and/or Generation Projects from being borne entirely by Maine ratepayers."


5.2.2 Required Approvals and Related Obligations
Proposals should identify all required permits and approvals necessary for the development, construction, and operation of the proposed project. The proposal must include a description of the process, timing, and current status with respect to obtaining each required permit or approval. At a minimum, proposals should address the following areas:
A. Approvals required by ISO-NE;
B. Approvals required by the FERC;
C. Commission jurisdictional approvals including certificates of public convenience and necessity (CPCN);
D. Other siting or environmental approvals including but not necessarily limited to the Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP), Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC), Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE), other local or municipal permits or approvals; and
E. Approval by the Maine Legislature for a proposed project that meets the definition of a “high impact transmission line” set forth in 35-A M.R.S. § 3131(4-A), pursuant to the results of the referendum election held on November 2, 2021, with respect to Question 1: Citizen’s Initiative
F. Any other required approvals, including any approvals necessary in other jurisdictions.

Comment by Penny Gray on December 13, 2021 at 5:35pm

Aroostook County does NOT have some of the best wind quality in the world.  How do I know that?  Because the little town of Carthage does.  I was sitting there at a town meeting listening to a spokesman for the wind developer, Patriot Renewables, owned by Jay Cashman "The Big Dig" in Boston, spout about how Saddleback Mountain had an average wind speed of 45 mph.  They collected the data daily.  And yes, they'd collected the date that day as a matter of fact...  But as it turns out, their MET tower had been flat on the ground for months, proven by videos taken by snowboarders.  So, that's how I know that Aroostook County can't possibly top Carthage, Maine for wind speeds.  Right?  

What a bunch of liars these "green energy" people are.  Now they're going to ruin Northern Maine, which is "desperate" for this wind industry and the $$$ they shell out to the locals.  Oh, and these developers are going to reduce property taxes and energy costs, and save the planet and generously pad their bank accounts with taxpayer dollars.  Sorry, had to vent.  

I hate seeing posts where people attack each other.  I get that we're all battling this ongoing assault from a different angle, and truly, that's a good thing. The only good thing that's come of this assault of Maine's last best places in the name of "Green Energy" is I've met some grand people, some of the smartest and the best.  We need to pull together.

Comment by Dan McKay on December 13, 2021 at 4:47pm

Thinklike A. Mountain, If this was Facebook, you would get a "like" from me.

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on December 13, 2021 at 11:40am

Killing NECEC was a case study in sheep herding.

Comment by Nancy Sosman on December 13, 2021 at 3:05am


Cory Morningstar 

Comment by Nancy Sosman on December 13, 2021 at 2:25am

Cmp/Avangrid/Iberdrola are thugs plain and simple.  They also could have avoided the battle had they taken the lines underground like they proposed in Vermont but instead spent millions to fight the will of 60% of Mainers who are sick and tired of their shenanigans, voted the worst provider in the country, worse than Pg&e who caused wild fires to rage in California.  As for wind turbines, they are a plague on every level.  I stand with Edward Abbey ... “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."  That is my big picture.

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on December 12, 2021 at 8:51pm

Nancy SosmanI don't applaud stupidity or lemmings following the money. hooray for stopping big wind in your area, but, your argument is myopic. Sometimes you have to see the big picture, and the suffering of all for your mighty 'win' with the yes will impact ALL those on fixed incomes and those working families negatively and many drastically. So pardon me if I find your win less than inspiring. And it shows just how hollow that 'yes' group was, it was financed by big money and not a peep on a much more destructive corridor that opens Maine to more and more useless wind and solar that we will pay for three times, once by taxes extorted from us, second in higher rates, and third paying to remove the trash when it's done! But, pat yourself on the back, you won the wrong fight! 

Comment by Dan McKay on December 12, 2021 at 6:20am
Just a few miles from Canada and with a current transmission connection with Canada, why not offer Canada the beautiful opportunity to purchase Northern Maine renewable energy?
Maine electricity suppliers are not going to buy expensive RECs from the project and the PUC isn't going to make CMP nor Versant buy the RECs. Adds zero to Maine's RPS
Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on December 9, 2021 at 9:47am

Earlier comment: "Because they were successful are they now expected to fight every battle? "

NRCM fought tooth and nail against the hydro clean energy line but now appears to be "on board" with the Aroostook line which with all the wind turbines it will enable will be infinitely more destructive than NECEC and most feckless. I fully expect NRCM to not only not fight the Aroostook line, but to be one of its biggest cheerleaders. Their record is one of supporting almost all wind. Killing NECEC was a case study in sheep herding.

Comment by Nancy Sosman on December 9, 2021 at 8:01am

Dan McKay ... you Need to hone your debating skills, they lack depth and reason. The corridor began when baldacci was gov and continued when he was hired by Avangrid/Iberdrola.  During the 2017 blackout when all the lights went out, for some nearly for two weeks, cmp was billing customers who had no power.  The lawsuit that took shape was subverted by politicos likely subsidized by avangrid/Iberdrola.  The conflicts of interest were apparent.  Avangrid/Iberdrola has a long history of price fixing and other thievery and have beeen sued numerous times for billions.  Cmp is holding Mainers hostage, aided and abetted by the last three govs, the PUC and the spineless legislature, democraps and Repugnants alike.  I find your response repugnant.  Instead of refuting my comment you not only shut me up but also try to get me off here altogether.  What a guy. 


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

 -- Mahatma Gandhi

"It's not whether you get knocked down: it's whether you get up."
Vince Lombardi 

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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